CRANFORD – DMD Architects Inc. is a business to look for in the future. Why is it so significant? Because it will represent the culmination of many years of studies by three remarkable Union County College architecture students who will be graduating on May 23, with their Associate in Science degree.
In September, all three will also be entering NJIT as double majors in architecture and concrete industry management. This unique combination of students, who met in “Sketching I” have had the love of architecture in their blood since they were kids. David Jaramillo, Michelle Ghanime, and David Williams (DMD) each explain with enthusiasm and thanks the quality experience they had as students at Union.
Jaramillo came to the U.S. with his family from Colombia when he was in grade school. He grew up in Roselle Park and when it came time for college, Union was an affordable and local option. Jaramillo is the son of a civil engineer and the grandson of a carpenter, so he has building and construction in his blood. From the age of six or seven, he was always looking at buildings and enjoyed drawing them, so he knew from a young age that he would grow up to study architecture and become an architect.
Jaramillo didn’t meet Ghanime and Williams until his second semester at Union. Since that time the three friends have had at least one course together during each term. They are all members of the college’s Architecture Club and Jaramillo served as Secretary/Treasurer. Through the club, the members took trips to different cities to see the architecture from various eras in time. They have visited MIT, Harvard, Washington, D.C., and will be going to see “Falling Water” in June. When Jaramillo has free time, he likes to play soccer, but most importantly he helps his grandfather with his construction business as a handyman.
Ghanime grew up in Union and knew from a young age that she wanted to study architecture. However, she didn’t realize how much she wanted to achieve this goal until she was working in a doctor’s office full-time and although it was a good job, it didn’t make her happy. She knew that she was not going to become a doctor, a career path she had considered. She was most happy when she drew and always enjoyed viewing residential building, tall skyscrapers, and bridges. So she decided to give architecture a try.
Ghamine originally got into NJIT but was not accepted into their architecture major program. NJIT recommended she come to Union, complete her A.S. degree and then transfer to NJIT for architecture. So Ghamine did exactly that and thanks to the transfer program between the two schools, it will be a seamless transition.
Like Jaramillo, Ghamine was also a member of the Architecture Club and served as President this year. She was also active with the Student Volunteer Organization at Union. Although she is a U.S. resident, Ghamine’s ethnic background is Lebanese, Syrian, and Armenian. She speaks fluent Arabic. All this adds to the uniqueness of DMD, a Colombian, Ghamine, and a Jamaican.
Williams came to the U.S. for a summer vacation in 2008 and during this visit he decided to stay and enroll in college. He has family in Union, which is how he discovered Union County College. Williams developed his interest in architecture in high school from a technical drawing and building construction course. He enjoyed that course so much, that coming into Union, he too knew that he would major in architecture. In addition to being a full-time student, he volunteers two to three times a week. The time commitment can be tough to balance but thanks to the support of family and of course, Jaramillo and Ghamine, he is able to stay focused and persevere.
Along with his friends, Williams too was a member of the Architecture Club and served as its President and Vice President. He was also a member of the Green Revolution Club.
The DMD team will tell you that Professor Dori Vicente, architecture instructor, was one of their toughest and yet most influential professors. Professor Nick Gilbert in the Engineering department and Prof. Gottko, who taught their “Structures I” course, also had a tremendous influence on the trio. Without the guidance and knowledge gained from these three professors, the DMD team would not be where they are today, happy and entering the two majors at NJIT.
In addition to architecture, which is their main focus, the DMD team has also been accepted into the concrete industry management program. Concrete industry management is a growing field. NJIT is the only college on the east coast that offers the program, and there are only 50 students accepted into it each year. So it is quite remarkable that three Union graduates will be heading into the program this fall. For Ghamine, she became interested in the program because of the scholarship money that is available to those who major in the field. Along with Jaramillo and Williams, Ghamine is also intrigued by the different types of buildings and structures that could be made from concrete. All three are excited to become a part of a growing industry and are entering a field in which there will be future employment.